Wilton Center was a little busier than usual Friday evening, as people gathered to enjoy an evening of local shopping and seasonal fun during the Wilton Chamber of Commerce’s 26th annual Holiday Stroll.
Santa Claus arrived at the event accompanied by Jillian Mahon and Amanda Hendry, co-captains of the Wilton High School girls field hockey state championship team, on a “red sleigh” — a fire truck provided and ushered by the Wilton Fire Department.
The trio sleighed their way through the downtown area to the Town Green, where First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice and other field hockey team members awaited their arrival before commencing the ceremonial lighting of the town holiday tree.

After the tree-lighting, Santa made his way to the the Town Green gazebo, where children of all ages shared with him their holiday wishes, while others played and posed for pictures with their families in front of the holiday tree.
The Wilton Library offered refreshments and a fireplace for people to warm by, and those interested in benefiting the Wilton Library Association could take “ornaments” — or wish list items — from the library’s Giving Tree. In the parking lot, the library had a telescope set up for people to stargaze.
For the Holiday Stroll, downtown merchants had extended hours and many offered refreshments for visitors to enjoy, as did some real estate offices and the Chamber office.

Fund-raising


The Wilton Chamber of Commerce has coordinated the annual stroll since its inception in 1989, but thanks to fund-raising efforts spearheaded by former First Selectman Bill Brennan and several Chamber members, this year’s was different.

Fresh garlands and new bows adorning Wilton Center lampposts were premiered at the Holiday Stroll, as well as the addition of a big red chair for kids to climb on for play and parents to use for holiday photo opportunities.
Thanks to public donations and efforts of the holiday working group — composed of Brennan, Ann Nash from Signature Style, Nancy Saxe from Sweet Pierre’s, and Peg Koellmer from Realty Seven — all 6,000 lights on the tree were replaced with bright, efficient LED bulbs, purchased at discount from Wilton Hardware.